Sri Lankan great Mahela Jayawardena, former South Africa all-rounder Shaun Pollock and ex England batter Janette Brittin will be inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame before the T20 World Cup final gets underway here on Sunday. The three cricketers will be formally inducted by fellow ICC Hall of Famer, Sir Clive Lloyd before the much-anticipated final between New Zealand and Australia starts at the Dubai International Stadium.
The ICC Hall of Fame recognizes the achievements of the legends of the game from cricket's long and illustrious history. 106 players have been inducted since its launch in 2009, with Brittin, Jayawardena and Pollock as the latest inductees.
Throwing light on the achievement, Sri Lankan spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan has called his former teammate Mahela Jayawardene one of the game's "great thinkers". Lauding him for his contribution to not just his country but world cricket, Muralitharan wrote in an open letter that Jayawardene is one of the most important players in Sri Lankan cricket history.
"You played so many wonderful innings and were always happy to be in the team, getting a lot of runs. There was less pressure on me to take wickets because once you put on all those runs, my job became easy. That is why you are one of the most important players in Sri Lankan cricket history," Muralitharan said.
"More than that though, you are a great human being and a very soft, kind guy away from cricket. In sport, everyone sees that champions are always very competitive. On the field, you had this ability to switch on, you were a great person to be around and play with.
"You were much quieter than me! You know I talk a lot and there were a few others in the dressing room to do the talking but you were quieter, you concentrated so much on the game at the time, you were glued to the match even while in the dressing room."
The 44-year-old Jayawardene retired as one of Sri Lanka's greatest ever players, a key member of the team that won the T20 World Cup in 2014 and reached four other major ICC finals. He is the third Sri Lankan player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame after another batting great and former skipper Kumar Sangakkara and Muralitharan himself.
"It isn't just for one individual moment that you are being inducted into the Hall of Fame, it's a reward for the toil over the years and everything you contributed for Sri Lanka," Muralitharan wrote.
"Those are all taken into consideration when choosing who is inducted and the ICC thinks it is right that you are the next Sri Lankan to be chosen, to join Kumar Sangakkara and me in the Hall of Fame. You have been selected because as a captain you were very successful, you consistently delivered as a batter, and then as a fielder, you took a lot of catches more than anyone else. You have done everyone in Sri Lanka proud."